Long before it was a serious career option, I chose to walk away from traditional work and into a freelance career. Working for one of the world’s most difficult people made that decision easy and 22 years later I am eternally grateful for her crappy attitude pushing me out on my own. At the ripe old age of 23, I moved into portfolio work; doing a range of things suited to my skills. Back then I was one of the few but nowadays I would be just one of the many.
More than ever, organisations and recruiters face the new breed of portfolio workers. Yes, some may chose to work within organisations, others go it alone, but they are setting the rules about how they wish to work, what they want to work on and for how long. The ‘talent’ is out and networking thanks to social.
The interconnected world, supported by a myriad of social platforms designed to network, share, publish and influence, provides an opportunity to self-promote to literally anyone. In an age where job stability, employer loyalty and people investment can still be considered shaky, the much maligned Gen Y’s and Millennials are making the plays as to how they want their career to pan out. Social naturally complements this move.
Many of them are banking on creating incomes on everything from a diverse skills set (across a range of workplaces) through to working in and out of a series of start-ups. All the while they are telling their stories of success as well as failure across their LinkedIn profiles, blogs and twitter accounts. They are also gaining coverage across niche online media sharing their news and views to a much engaged network. They are at the helm of their careers and setting their compass. People can see them and find them easily.
This creates an new operating environment for recruiters and HR’s who will need to move to a new model to attract and keep this pro-active careerists. Jobs will need to be redesigned to build in the flexibility of working location, hours, work/life balance and the need to cultivate innovation and passion into the ongoing roles of the future.
Entrepreneurs are adopting this people-focused culture to keep and develop these free ranging and thinking portfolio workers. They align this people shift with their new economy business models which often turn financial and operational methodologies on their heads. They recognise how their people and wider teams underpin their future success and it’s paying dividends.
People will always be the key to an successful business where thinking is required. You can only mechanise certain things. These brilliantly placed young professionals are communicating far and wide, spruiking their own talents, running their own lines of argument and setting the scene for the businesses of the future.
If organisations want to hold onto control then it will be their loss. The talent will continue to be connected, talking to prospects and securing the next deal. Why wouldn’t you want people like that working for you?